Despite New York’s passage of more stringent construction worker safety laws, lack of employer compliance still leads to an alarming amount of avoidable accidents. The NYC Department of Buildings reports that last August, a worker was seriously injured when a piece of plywood was used to conceal a hole, instead of repairing it. This happened 56 floors above the ground, and the worker is lucky to be alive. Sadly, this is happening all the time as employers fail to implement safety protocols. Construction safety in New York City can only be improved with both laws and enforcement.
In October, 2017 Local Law 196 was passed, but the City is not doing an adequate job with enforcement. The most important aspect of the new law was training, but the Department of Buildings keeps delaying the date requiring full compliance. This destroys the entire intent of the bill as people are still dying because they do not know how to put on a harness correctly!
The Mayor’s “management report” states that there are two construction accidents a day in New York City – 744 a year! This includes both small injuries and fatalities such as the worker that was killed in a building collapse accident last September. The total number of injuries keeps increasing steadily. There were only 212 injuries reported for the entire year just five years ago.
This increase is being attributed to fraud and inadequate training. Another ploy is the extensive use of “fake OSHA certifications,” that was reported on by the Daily News, NBC, and other media. The 10-hour training class costs more than $100 and a day without working is a big hit from a worker, and with fake certificates widely available, the temptation is huge. Another ruse is “online training,” as it is widely known that office workers often take the training for an entire crew.
Hopefully, the Mayor will improve construction safety in New York City with more enforcement to protect workers.